Image for Bayberry ( spp.)
Bayberry (Myrica spp.)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Anthocyanins, antioxidant, arbre à cire (French), arbre à suif (French), arrayán (Spanish), arrayán brabántico (Spanish), Asian bayberry, bay-rum tree, bog-myrtle, bois-sent-bon (French), box berry, box myrtle, Brabantimirtusz (Hungarian), C-methylated dihydrochalcone, candleberry, cera vegetal (Spanish), chalcone, Chinese-arbutus, Chinese bayberry, Chinese strawberry tree, cirier (French), Elvepost (Norwegian), Fenyérmirtusz (Hungarian), flavanone, flavonoid, flavonol, Gagel (Dutch, German), Gagelstrauch (German), galé odorant (French), glashout (Afrikaans), Harilik porss (Estonian), ilethi (Zulu), Illatos viaszbogyó (Hungarian), Japanese bayberry, kaphal (Nepali), Kynning (Norwegian), Lopperis (Norwegian), louro-bravo (Portuguese), Lusgras (Norwegian), meadow-fern, Mjaðarlyng (Icelandic), Moor-Gagelstrauch (German), Mose Pors (Danish), Morella (alternate genus), Morella cerifera L. Small, Morella cordifolia (L.) Killick, Morella esculenta (Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don) I. M. Turner, Morella nana (A. Chev.) J. Herb.), Morella rubra Lour., mountain peach, Myrica cerifera, Myrica cordifolia, Myrica esculenta, Myrica gale, Myrica integrifolia, Myrica nagi, Myrica nana, Myrica quercifolia, Myrica rubra, Myrica salicifolia, Myrica sapida, Myrica serrata, myricetin, myrique (French), myrique baumier (French), Nageia nagi (Thunb.) Kuntze, piment royal (French), Pors (Danish, nagi (Japanese), Norwegian, Swedish), Porsch (German), Pørse (Norwegian), Porst (German), Poss (Norwegian), Post (Norwegian), Postris (Norwegian), quercetin, red bayberry, Rosmarin (Norwegian), southern bayberry, southern wax-myrtle, Sumpfmyrte (German), Suomyrtit (Finnish), Suomyrtti (Finnish), sweet gale, tallow shrub, tannin, Vahaporss (Estonian), Viaszbogyó (Hungarian), Viaszcserje (Hungarian), Voks-Pors (Danish), Vokspors (Norwegian), Voskovník japonský (Czech), Voskovník obecný (Czech), Voskovník pensylvánský (Czech), Wachsbeerbaum (German), Wachsgagle (German), Wachsmyrte (German), wasbessie (Afrikaans), wasbessiebos (Afrikaans), wasbossie (Afrikaans), Wasgagel (Dutch), wax, wax myrtle, wax-myrtle, wax shrub, waxberry, Woskownica (Polish), yamamomo (Japanese), yangmei (Cantonese, Chinese), yun nan yang mei (Chinese).
  • Note: Due to the lack of primary research and the extensive and often interchangeable use of different varieties of bayberry, this monograph addresses the available data on a number of commonly used species of the genus Myrica.

Background

  • Myrica is a genus of about 35-50 species of small trees and shrubs in the family Myricaceae, order Fagales, found throughout most of the world. Occasionally, the genus is divided into two genera, Myrica and Morella, with the former restricted to only a few species and the remainder appearing under Morella. Common names include bayberry, bay-rum tree, bog-myrtle, candleberry, sweet gale, and wax-myrtle.
  • Several species of Myrica have been used in folk medicine in Asian, Native American, European, and African cultures. According to Daniel Moerman's Medicinal plants of Native America, the branches of sweet gale (Myrica gale) were used by the Bella Coola Indians of British Columbia to prepare decoctions for use as a diuretic or as a treatment for gonorrhea. Other Native American peoples have used bayberry for dysentery, diarrhea, fevers, gynecological conditions, bleeding in the uterus, and as a toothache remedy. Myrica cordifolia, native to South Africa, has been traditionally used as an astringent, food source, and for tanning hides. Another species indigneous to Africa, Myrica quercifolia, has also been prescribed by native herbalists to cure stomachaches.
  • The early American colonists did not initially use the herb medicinally, but rather made candles, soaps and cosmetics from the bayberry fruit.
  • Today, bayberry remains popular in Asian herbalist traditions. In Taiwan, bayberry is often recommended for stomach disorders and diarrhea, and in China, it is used as an astringent and pain reliever.
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Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.